Happy River in India's Caged Capital

Ehasaas Kanjilal, Contributing Correspondent, Delhi, India
Map of Delhi, Photo: Collected

Map of Delhi, Photo: Collected

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What years of planning and millions spent on a project couldn't do was made possible by this lockdown. Stretches of Yamuna which had become piles of toxic foam and liquid - residue of industrial effluents - were seen sparkling blue on this Sunday (March 5). After the arrival of the covid - 19 in India and later the appearance of lockdown, the water, air and noise pollution has decreased by a major ratio.

The shutting down of industries and factories has given a temporary relief from the endangerment of our natural resources. It may be temporary but we definitely do acknowledge the changes humans are capable of bringing to the mankind. There is a massive improvement in the terrestrial life on the Yamuna floodplains including sightseeing of many birds along the stretch.

Even though the Yamuna river flows only for 54 km, from Palla to Badarpur, through Delhi, a 22-km stretch from Wazirabad to Okhla, which is less than 2% of the total length of the river - 1,370 km from Yamunotri to Allahabad - accounts for about 76% of the pollution in the river, a report submitted by YMC had stated last year. A Delhi Jal Board report shows that out of 748 MGD of sewage generated in Delhi, only 490 MGD is being treated and over 250 MGD is going untreated into the Yamuna daily.

This lockdown has brought a massive improvement in the condition of the river as seen the water level has risen and it is much clearer than ever before whilst the improvement the exploitation of the river is still not at a hault as sewage through residential colonies that are not linked to sewage treatment plants continues to flow into it.

Tapan Mukherjee, a former scientist at CSIR, NISCAIR had a very subjective take on the topic as he said " The cost spent into cleaning the river every year can be put to a better use by spending it on recycling the waste or cleaning and renewing the toxic waste for the betterment of nature."

"Now that people have witnessed what improvement can take place in the nature when one stops exploiting the natural resources, they might learn to respect the beauty of it as well" he added.

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